Friday, December 09, 2005

Restaurant 71: Maoz (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)



RESTAURANT: Maoz
LOCATION: Five Locations Throughout Amsterdam
DATE: September 14, 2005
FOOD: Falafel with unlimited salad bar
BEVERAGE: None
PRICE: 3.50 Euros

When it comes to the art of the cheap eat, perhaps no food better satisfies both stomach and wallet than falafel. The idea of frying ground chick peas is simple enough but a successful falafel rests on the spices used in the process. In New York, Alfanoose has perfected the recipe. But in Amsterdam, we were dealing with uncharted territory.

We had discovered the Maoz chain while in Madrid and been delighted by the backpacker friendly price and unlimited, free salad bar. As Amsterdam is the home of the chain, we decided to give it another go, as it’s hard to beat a 3.50 Euro dinner.

Five large pieces of falafel, prepared just moments before, crowded into the cushy envelope of a whole wheat pita. The falafel had the crunchy exterior all good falafel should have. While the predominant spice was parsley, there was still enough variety of flavors to keep the falafel interesting. Maoz’s falafel might not be on par with Ataturk’s regime, but it’s far better than the Ottoman Empire’s final triad of hapless pashas. What makes Maoz so appealing is the salad bar. Nothing is spectacular, but my love of olives and beets found satiation. The carrot and tabouleh salads were delicious and the butter pickles, downright outstanding. Combine that with sauces ranging from yogurt dill to tahini to hot sauce, and Maoz was a fantastic break from our normal pork based diet. The only US location is in Philadelphia and if I ever have the misfortune to find myself in the city of brotherly love and the last place Eagles, I might have to chow down on some falafel instead of a cheesesteak.

RATING: 6.3/10
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